He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Will we hear the word of God today? What will we think it is? Will we take it as our moral compass, our way of regulating the life of those around us and “calling to account” those with whom we disagree? Certain parts of scripture make a case for this cantankerous, and frankly entirely unappealing type of “faithfulness”. It’s as if we’re scared to be creative, to think for ourselves, to take responsibility, to live in a state of grace, and so instead we bind ourselves up in labyrinthine, contradictory rules and edicts, so that we can feel ever more guilty, ever more unworthy, and yet at the same time ever more morally superior.
What would it be like if the word of God we sought to obey was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself”? Would we want to be the world’s moral police then? Would the height of our ambition be to prove which version of the Genesis creation stories were “true”? Would we justify our communities, our nations, blowing people to smithereens because they have “a divine right” to do so to get to a patch of land? I really don’t think we would. I think we would realise that to love is to sacrifice, to be humble and to put others first.
Jesus changed the world like that. We are following after Him. We can follow in His way.